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Among the philanthropists who sought to provide emergency child care in Birmingham, England, were Josiah Mason who built and endowed an orphanage, Thomas Crowley, and John Middlemore, who opened two small receiving homes in 1872. The Middlemore Children's Emigration Homes accepted only those dispossessed children who were considered physically and mentally fit to emigrate. Such children were cared for in the emigration home at Birmingham for one year and trained for a new life abroad. Middlemore's annual report for 1891 reports that the older boys were placed on farms where they worked, receiving board and lodgings as well as a sum of money for their work. The older girls were placed in domestic service and likewise received some wages. By contrast, the younger children were adopted and were expected to be sheltered, fed and schooled. Middlemore adopted a screening process regarding the families which applied to receive children from Britain and created a system of visitation to ensure that the children and families functioned well together. Children who were not thriving in a particular family environment were removed from it.

C-96324: Photo of George Everett Greene on Admission.

Photo of George Everett Greene on admission.
Library and Archives Canada, C-96324

In 1873, John Middlemore brought 29 children to Canada where they were settled in foster homes. By 1877, 310 children had been taken to Canada. In later years, the increasing numbers of children selected, trained and emigrated, required the establishment of a receiving home for both boys and girls at Halifax, Nova Scotia. From there, children were accepted into homes throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Children were also received in London, Ontario, at the Guthrie Home. From there, they were placed in rural homes. At a later date, children were also sent to British Columbia through the Fairbridge Society. In any case, children were only brought to Canada when the Canadian manager of Middlemore Homes received application for British children by Canadian families. By 1926, Middlemore had immigrated more than 5,000 children to Canada.

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